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contender worthy of the white house. it's happened before. john kennedy, ronald reagan, george w. bush, all bounced higher in the polls after credible debate performances and went on to win the white house. whatever the outcome, most agree it's the debates that will give us our best opportunity to evaluate these candidates, sort out their positions and separate truth from fiction. not a moment too soon. according to a new survey from the annenberg public policy center at the university of pennsylvania, with a little over a month to go before election day, the public has a lot to learn about the 2012 presidential race. among its findings, only 51% know the romney-ryan plan would preserve traditional medicare for those 55 and older and retain it as an option for those now younger than that. only about half knew that mitt romney would keep the bush tax cuts in place. fewer than half knew that romney and not obama had promised to increase defense spending. only 23% were aware that payroll taxes had decreased during obama's term in office. only slightly more than half knew that paul ryan is the
, ronald reagan was not engaged in every detail, he could have the stam no-- stamina to do t but obama is engaged in everything. and i do think there is a sensef fat agency that one senses around the white house and one senses around him. nd so to get the passion that he had in 2008, i think is just hard given everything he's been through. >> you think that explains, mark, partly what happened? >> it may well, judy. 48 hours later, first of all, just a personal note, i have speculated on debate night that the president's passive performance and it was quite passive, listless, may have been attributed in part to john kerry, his sparring partner in the prep sessions who is a leading contender to be secretary of state maybe not going tough toe-to-toe to him. my subsequent reporting has, in fact, contradicted that. john kerry, i was told by two eye witnesses was actually tougher inside than mitt romney was with barack obama. >> woodruff: so that's not it. >> no, i don't think that-- i do think what we concluded before, at least i heard several wise people say, presidential debates don't ma
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